The original item was published from March 23, 2020 6:31 PM to March 23, 2020 6:39 PM
As of 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in compliance with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's Executive Order 53 (PDF), Loudoun County businesses, schools and gatherings will be subject to restrictions intended to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
All Virginia K-12 schools will remain closed through the end of this academic year and all Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) campuses and facilities (including all playgrounds, athletic fields and courts) are also closed to the public at this time. LCPS facilities have experienced heavier than normal use in recent days, impacting the ability of residents to maintain the social-distancing measures that are recommended to slow the spread of the virus.
Signs pertaining to the closures have been posted on LCPS campuses and residents must adhere to all such notices. In addition, county park features that include playgrounds and athletic courts are closed. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) may charge individuals or groups with trespass if they are improperly or illegally on county-owned property or facilities where “No Trespassing” signs are properly posted.
LCSO, with authorization from the respective Homeowners Association (HOA), may enforce “No Trespassing” on HOA-owned property, including playgrounds, basketball courts or other athletic facilities where signs are posted that these areas are closed.
Ban on Gatherings of More than 10 People
The governor’s order also specifies that gatherings of more than 10 people are banned statewide, beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
If individuals are publicly congregating in groups of ten or more, the LCSO will assess the scene and encourage and direct the groups to disperse.
Entertainment and Dining Businesses
If the LCSO receives a call that any non-essential businesses directed to be closed by the governor’s order is still open, the LCSO will respond to the business, take legal action if appropriate and/or advise the business owner to cease that activity. The LCSO may also notify the Loudoun County Health Department for appropriate legal follow-up.
The governor’s order declares the following recreation and entertainment businesses are considered non-essential and must close to the public beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020:
- Theaters, performing arts centers, concert venues, museums, and other indoor entertainment centers; fitness centers, gymnasiums, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities;
- Beauty salons, barber shops, spas, massage parlors, tanning salons, tattoo shops, and any other location where personal care or personal grooming services are performed that would not allow compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain six feet apart;
- Racetracks and historic horse racing facilities;
- Bowling alleys, skating rinks, arcades, amusement parks, trampoline parks, fairs, arts and craft facilities, aquariums, zoos, escape rooms, indoor shooting ranges, public and private social clubs, and all other places of indoor public amusement.
All dining and congregation areas in the following establishments must close to the public beginning at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. These establishments may continue to offer delivery and/or takeout services. Establishments include:
- Dining establishments;
- Food courts;
- Farmers markets;
- Wineries; and
- Tasting rooms.
While essential businesses may remain open, the Loudoun County Health Department reminds business owners and the public that these retail establishments must, to the extent possible, adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing practices on common surfaces, and other appropriate workplace guidance from state and federal authorities.
- Grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retailers that sell food and beverage products or pharmacy products, including dollar stores, and department stores with grocery or pharmacy operations;
- Medical, laboratory, and vision supply retailers;
- Electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones, computers, tablets, and other communications technology;
- Automotive parts, accessories, and tire retailers as well as automotive repair facilities;
- Home improvement, hardware, building material, and building supply retailers;
- Lawn and garden equipment retailers;
- Beer, wine, and liquor stores;
- Retail functions of gas stations and convenience stores;
- Retail located within healthcare facilities;
- Banks and other financial institutions with retail functions;
- Pet stores and feed stores;
- Printing and office supply stores; and
- Laundromats and dry cleaners.
Any brick-and-mortar retail business not listed above must limit all in-person shopping to no more than 10 patrons per establishment, adhere to social distancing recommendations, sanitize common surfaces, and apply relevant workplace guidance from state and federal authorities. If any such business cannot adhere to the 10-patron limit with proper social distancing requirements, it must close.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and the Loudoun County Health Department are working together to educate the affected business owners to ensure an understanding of the order to help combat COVID-19. If a resident of Loudoun County observes a potential violation, they are encouraged to call the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number at 703-777-1021.
Violations of the governor’s order (paragraphs 1, 3, 4, and 6) are a misdemeanor, which carry a punishment of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
The order will remain in effect for at least 30 days in Virginia.
Read the governor’s news release.
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